I have worked at a doctors practice for two years. Some of my collegues have made a year working in this practice, but they have increased their salary. I didn't get an increase when they did.

What might be the cause of this? Should I ask my boss why or should I keep quiet?


2 Answers 2


If you are unhappy with your salary you should definitely discuss it with your boss.

However, I would suggest not bringing up what other people in the company are making or what raises they might have recently received. That is irrelevant, it isn't a competition or a parent handing out allowances to all of their children. Your salary is the negotiated amount based on your value to the company and what you reasonably can get in the marketplace.

So when you ask for a raise you are re-entering that negotiation and need to have something new to bring to the table. That is, why are you worth more now than when you previously agreed to work for your current salary? Your best bet is to demonstrate that you have gained new experience/skills that are valuable to the employer or that you have taken on greater responsibility.

One other thing. I'd avoid the line of argument that raises are necessary to keep up with inflation. While this is often true (not so much this year), you really need to frame the discussion in terms of the extra value you are providing, not in terms of your own financial situation.

Update based on comments:
The only inflation that matters in this discussion is that for labor prices for your specific job. Those tend to jump up AND DOWN quite a bit over the years. If you want to make the inflation argument you should be willing to take a pay cut whenever the job market starts tanking. The price of eggs and gas are immaterial from the perspective of your employment contract.

  • 2
    +1 Good advice, I wish more people in our society thought about things this way.
    – C. Ross
    Apr 1, 2010 at 16:30
  • +1 I liked the competition and child allowances analogy.
    – Troggy
    Oct 6, 2010 at 21:08
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    I disagree about not bringing up inflation. If you are not getting a pay raise equal to inflation, then your real wages are going down. You don't have to be bringing something extra to the table to be paid the same in real terms. In these recessionary times "everybody's suffering" is usually the reason. Jan 17, 2011 at 18:36
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    @DJClayworth - I'm not arguing that inflation doesn't deflate the value of your salary. If you read closely, I am saying that you should never argue for a raise in terms of what's in it for you. To make a compelling argument you need to frame it in terms of what THEY are getting, not what YOU are getting. It isn't about fairness. It is about strategy. Would you rather be right or get the raise?
    – JohnFx
    Jan 17, 2011 at 20:25
  • The part is was disagreeing with was when you wrote "you need to have something new to bring to the table". I would use the argument "I'm working just as well as a year ago, why am I being paid less?" Jan 17, 2011 at 21:08

Don't focus on the salary directly -- I would have a discussion with your boss about your performance and strategies to improve. Keep your mind open and don't get upset if you don't hear whatever you expected.

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